Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Apartheid, Social Movements, South Africa, Xenophobia


This statement from the Western Cape Anti-Eviction campaign links the regular evictions of it’s members with those of refugees who have been “evicted by violence” form their homes over the past few weeks. The link is important in understanding the role of the government in fueling the flames of xenophobia by police attacks against immigrant communities; the refusal of the government to recognise the status of Zimbabweans as refugees and according them the protection and support required by international law; the failure of the government to respond to the violence thereby implicitly supporting the violence by facilitating an environment where the poor not only fight amongst themselves for the crumbs of the earth, but feel justified in carrying out violent acts of hatred against foreigners.

That the only long-term solution to afrophobia (xenophobia) and other forms of violence is to end the oppression of all poor people living in South Africa. If the poor had houses, if the poor had jobs, if the poor had decent health-care, reasonably priced food staples, and meaningful redistribution of land, they would not be blaming and fighting their neighbors for the little scraps they do have. It has been well documented that most of the actual violence in Cape Town had very little to do with hatred for foreign Africans and everything to do with it being an excuse to snatch a bag of mealies. When people are hungry, they’ll do almost anything to feed their family.



  1. This raises the utopian dream in Africa as Robert Mugabe goes to dinner at the World Food Conference in Rome. Italy that is already planning stricter immigration rules (opposed by Spain) chose to see this evil but closed its eyes to the root causes of immigration.

    Beautys last blog post..53 Nigerians were arrested in Málaga, Spain

  2. anengiyefa

    Ending the “oppression of all poor people living in South Africa” cannot in itself be the only “long-term solution” to xenophoia. This is so because this alone will not eliminate the need for millions of migrants from neighbouring and other countries to consider migrating to South Africa in search of a better life, and this, because of the conditions in their home countries. I tend to think that the problem has wider cross-border dimensions, and competition for resources between migrants and the indigenes will not be eradicated simply by improving the quality of life for the indigenes.

  3. Comment by post author


    amengiyefa @ No it would not eliminate migration to SA – that is not what the WCAE campaign are saying. People have migrated across lands for as long as humans have roamed this earth – there are huge numbers of SA living abroad in Africa and the West – people are moving from all corners – from Kenya to Uganda, Nigeria to Ghana and so on. Migration will always be a part of our existence for one reason or the other.

    Beauty @ If I believe that social justice was an Utopian ideal I might as well give up and die right now – I believe that change can be accomplished, not without a struggle, but the system of capitalist exploitation is just not sustainable.

  4. anengiyefa

    @Sokari, this is true. Methinks that the statement from the WCAE campaign was suggesting a solution to the xenophobia and violence that we have seen recently in South Africa. Migration is a part of human history, and migrant workers have played an important part in the South African economy over a long period of time. But the virulent xenophobia that we have seen is relatively new, and is a direct consequence of the unprecedented mass migration to that country that has occured since the end of apartheid, and particularly since the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy. It is addressing the root causes of this mass migration, and thereby removing the need for people to migrate in such large numbers, that is in my view the real solution to xenophobia.

  5. aaasss

    why we can’t get along, then put so much hate.

  6. The points being made by the anti-eviction campaign would need very little, if any, modification to fit the current situation related to immigrants from Mexico in the U.S. The government created the problem in the first place by implementing NAFTA. Then the government has used the influx of desperate people across the border as a way to distract U.S. citizens from other issues, even encouraging them in a whole raft of ways to see Mexican immigrants as a threat and even to attack them. The poverty created by neo-liberalism on both sides of the border is the real problem. And alieviating the poverty through redistribution is the answer.

    Changeseekers last blog post..I’m Listening…